Earlier, we mentioned that on the way into Happy Valley we had passed the series of waterfalls and saw that they were flowing. We are still excited by this event. We got up very early one morning, just to see them flowing, but were disappointed.
So far today, we have made our way in and out of a remote canyon in the Happy Valley area.
Part I and Part II of this wonderful day are found here:
We are rushing to beat the sun. The waterfalls are on the east slope of these very tall mountains.
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We reach the SUV and I climb in without stopping to dress. DF drops a sundress over her head, the thin straps hold it at her shoulders. We slowly make our way in 4×4 low to the main dirt road. After switching into 4×4 high, this route takes us back to the falls. It is a winding graded dirt conveyance, up and down hills. I must slow on blind hilltops, slippery turns and the sun’s setting glare. There is every desire to go faster and make better time, but I remain cautious.
That morning, we had had a mission to accomplish, and there was a truck with children parked at the trailhead to the falls. Now, late on a Sunday, the area is all to ourselves. I don’t need to take precious time for clothing.
I pull up, park, grab my camera and I’m off. DF and Bruce are behind, as I scurry up the trail. My pace is hurried, because daylight will be leaving us soon. Already, the sun is behind the tall Rincon Mountains and we are in their shade.
I want pictures and exploration. I am moving up the slope as fast as I can. My memory didn’t record this as being such a steep climb. Running up this hill is more workout in a busy day. I reach the rise that comes before the trail’s descent into the streambed. As I come to the crest, I can hear the water slamming into the granite surfaces. This is exciting. This is something that I didn’t expect to see, at least without special effort, or ever.
Bruce pops up behind me, as I take a shot of the mass with its foam lined streaming flow. Then, I’m off again.
The sandbar is a pond fed by a stream which is flowing through a channel cut through millennia.
There is that golden brown tannin tint of mountain water. Contrasting with this is a stream of foam. The patterns are beautiful in the root beer colors.
There is now no trail. I must climb over a few rocks along the edge of the pond to get to the granite slabs. I do and then make my way climbing up to the first fall and its pool. Bruce is right behind me.
DF shows up below at the first pond at the base of the rock climb. She is wearing her dress and white shirt, anticipating cold in the shadows. I begin to shoot photos, pointing down at her. I yell out. Take your clothes off.
Smiling, she pulls her drapery over her head to become naked. I think to myself, “That was easy. Don’t have to tell her twice.” She abandons her belongings right there at the spot and climbs with exuberance on up the smooth slope.
She wants to grab the most out of this opportunity. She is as excited as I am. Bruce also shares this, but his exuberance has him continuing up the north side in search of a trail. He disappears. DF and I make our way to the pond.
DF tells me that that water is cold. She dipped her foot in as she made her way across the pond. Maybe we might dip in the heat of the day, but not now. We have nothing to dry with, or clothing to wrap our bare bodies in. The sun’s heat is gone. Besides, we have exploring to do, pictures to document and there is so much to see. It is all so different, today.
We make our way to the other side. We cross over the water flow on stepping stones. We both remember that there is a trail up to the next level.
We climb higher, back along the mountainside, but there is no trail switching back as we remember it. We travel back and forth, we retrace our steps, but there is no trail!
Finally, I decide to just climb strait up over the boulders and brush, until I find the trail above. I know that it is there. It crisscrosses and is hard to miss. DF’s memory concurs.
This works. We head along to the next level.
I keep looking over and up to see if Bruce finds the way to up above us. There looks to be a way there, but we haven’t explored the north side of the falls yet. He is not in sight.
The water is cascading down and splashing, before flowing again and into the pool.
Before, there was trash and a beach. Today, there is only a cold swim. There is a beautiful trail of foam traveling through to the next drop off. It is exciting.
Something is between the toes of my shoes and there are still some burrs in my socks.
As I bask in the wonderment of the waters and stone, I remove my shoes and clean them in maintenance.
DF finds herself taking pictures in fascination.
Becoming barefoot all over, here, I plainly feel as a more natural being.
The view in the distance is tinted pink as the sun sets. The waters reflect this. Finally, we see the golden orange tint of the setting sun rise to the top of the taller peak to the east. It then disappears.
Dark and cooler air will come. We must leave. We intend to find the trail from below by backtracking. The trail just stops. A very good worn trail just disappears into the brush. We find our way with a bushwhacking fashion again.
We find Bruce at the second pool.
Our cameras are now snapping with automatic flashes adjusted to the dusk. There are plants flourishing with the moister and humidity caused by the falling water.
DF voices a passing concern that something, an animal, the wind and the stream, or someone might carry off her clothes that were cast aside at the base of the falls…so what!
DF does find her clothing, as we are leaving.